By Mary Mwende Mbithi

Flower growers preparing their spray program have yet another reason to smile as Bayer East Africa unveiled a superior liquid formulation and a powerful tool designed to protect against fungal diseases on the leaves and in the of soil as well bacterial diseases. This went down at Interplant Roses located at the Flower Business Park in Naivasha, Nakuru County during a Growers Day organized by Bayer. It was an epoch-making fete as growers showed up in huge numbers all geared up for the launch of Serenade® ASO, a biological fungicide that aims at managing the notorious powdery mildew in roses.

Edwin Kiptarus , the Go to Manager Cereals and Flowers East Africa

Technical Walk
Growers were taken round the greenhouses by Bayer’s team of agronomists where Bayer had contacted their prior trials before concluding on the effectiveness of the product. Different varieties of roses were showcased in various hydroponics system, and it was certain that Serenade® ASO was a game changer.

Roses inflicted with powdery mildew and those already cured from the latter were neatly displayed growing on pumice and coco peat in the hydroponics. It was evident that indeed Serenade® ASO was doing a wonder in rose growing. The roses treated with Serenade® ASO were spick and span, flourishing and looking healthier than those untreated.

Booth Discussions
The unique arrangements of the day had growers discussing with experts in three different booths. Bayer Agronomists took growers through all Bayer Crop science solutions for different farming challenges. On soil health, by use of a microscope, growers were taken through different soil components by experts led by ICIPE researchers Dr. Danny Coyne and Dr. Solveig Haukeland. Soil health was discussed mainly nematodes.

After a myriad of activities here and there, back and forth, not to mention refreshments galore and what have you, it was time for the official launch of the product. Mr. Maurice Koome, District Manager, Floriculture, export vegetables and herbs with Bayer East Africa took the steering wheel as the moderator of the day.

“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen. Welcome to the most awaited moment of this particular event where we are about to learn and discuss the well-being of our crops as we unveil the super protection against powdery mildew in our roses -Serenade® ASO”, remarked Mr. Koome during the official opening of the launch.

Mr. Laurent Perrier, Managing Director Bayer East Africa Limited

Serenade® ASO
After an irresistible introduction by Mr. Koome, Mr. Edwin Kiptarus, the Go to Market manager Cereals and Flowers East Africa took to the podium to take growers through Serenade® ASO.

“Thank you so much, Serenade ASO®, a biological fungicide controls disease in complex growing situations. Serenade can be used against foliar and soil diseases in Flowers. Based on the beneficial bacterium Bacillus amyloliquifaciens strain QST 713, Serenade delivers control with high levels of environmental, human and safety to non-targets including bees when used as directed.

It has a unique biological mode of action, rapturing the cell membrane of the fungi, aiding as a tool for resistance management with Maximum Residue Level (MRL) exemption. It has a pre-Harvest Interval (PHI): 0 days, and low Re-Entry Interval (REI). Serenade® ASO is IPM compatible with wide safety margins to bees, other pollinators and beneficials. It is easily integrated into grower practices, tank-mix compatible with other crop protection and nutrition products.

Disease Spectrum
Serenade offers comparable control to other fungicides in seasonal disease control programs. It has superior control on powdery mildew and Botrytis. It can be a replacement for contact fungicides (i.e., mancozeb) and an alternative to copper or antibiotics for bacterial control. It is a soil disease suppression with yield impacts. It is known to supress Sclerotinia, Alternaria and Colletotrichum. Serenade has been tested for compatibility with many other conventional products including fungicides, insecticides, herbicides and fertilizers and proved highly compatible. Why is Serenade™ a Unique Product? Serenade delivers value beyond efficacy. It has both bacterial and fungal controls from a single product, broad soil activity and proven yield increases and uses to optimize grower’s flexibility and enhancing global trade. It’s key benefits include a broad Spectrum product with MRL exemption, superior marketability plant safety, Increased yield and profit, excellent environmental profile, a resistance management tool with maximum application flexibility and low REI and PHI.

It works on direct contact on the disease organism itself.

Anti-germination: It prevents fungus and bacteria from entering into the leaf tissue.

Effective formulation: It tackles diseases at an early stage.

Mode of Action
The diversity of Serenade activity derives from it’s unique nature as a microbial fungicide containing both endospores and natural product chemistry. It has foliar fungal control, bacterial control and soil disease suppression in addition to Plant growth promotion yield.

It’s mode of Action is disrupting the pathogen cell membrane physically. Such Mode of Action has been recognized as a separate class by the FRAC Committee. According to FRAC code list Serenade is classified under BM 02 as F6: disrupters of pathogen cell membranes and for this category, resistance is not known.

Induced systemic response in action
Plant defence: Foliar applications of Serenade lead to induced resistance in plants. Serenade turns on a gene response in the plant, causing it to make proteins involved in defence against attack. This response happens throughout the plant.

Serenade, optimal partner for resistance management
Serenade can be used in mixtures with partners or in sequence, just like multi-sites. No restriction concerning the number, the timing, or the sequence of applications. Biological Fungicides such as Serenade can be generally considered as “Low Risk Groups” without any signs of resistance development.

Mr. Mutuma of Bayer East Africa Limited, demonstrating to growers how bayer solutions work in soil health.

Proprietary processes create industry leading formulation
Serenade is a fermentation product. During the fermentation process the spores of Bacillus amyloliquifaciens QST 713 produce the anti-fungal and antibacterial biological chemistry. The process follows thorough quality control to ensure Serenade is always supplied in consistently best quality. The final product contains the biological chemistry along with the Bacillus amyloliquifaciens QST 713 spores.

Three types of active biological compounds
During the fermentation process, Bacillus amyloliquifaciens QST713 produces a variety of biological compounds. These compounds can be grouped into three classes according to their activity on pathogens and the plant namely; Bacterial, Anti-Fungal Lipopeptides and Plant Growth

Why Choose Serenade ASO over others
QST 713 is unique and different from other Bacillus amyloliquefaciens in type and the amount of biological chemistry it can produce, as well as its ability to colonize roots.

It is a stable product (2-year shelf life for liquid formulation, similar to conventional crop protection products and for Dry formulations it offers a technical shelf life of up to (5) five years).

Production: It is same quality standards as chemical crop protection products. It has controlled fermentation process results in a consistent product, containing a standardized viable spore count.

Fungicide with three classes of lipopeptides and higher relative volume vs. competitors
Three classes of lipopeptides in Serenade is a proven synergistic combination. It has higher relative volume of lipopeptides compared to competitors. Serenade has better fungal effects than competitor bacillus based products

Mr. Kiptarus was ably supported by Mr. Joseph Kibaki who took growers through Resistance Management, Thomas Mutuma who took them through the trials and Positioning of Serenade ASO in grower programs for the management of Powdery Mildew. Mr. Kiptarus also took growersthrough a well-run panel discussions with growers discussing with Bayer Crop science and ICIPE experts. The launch was preceded by a Nematode presentation by ICIPE scientists.

Parting Shot
Isabellah N Magale, Customer Marketing, thanked them for the day well spent with the Bayer family. She added, Our company will be sensitive to our customers and the public at large, recognizing our duty for upholding the highest degree of professional ethics and code of practice. Today we have given you another top-notch product in addition to our other solutions.

According to Bayer the products were available for distribution at Amiran Kenya Ltd and Elgon Kenya whose teams were readily available for orders.